Google pin drop attracts attention at Corner 365, but Google has nothing to do with it

This sign in front of the new Corner 365 apartments is attracting attention -- just as Mike Garvey hoped it would.

This sign in front of the new Corner 365 apartments is attracting attention — just as Mike Garvey hoped it would.

WICHITA — The popular Google pin drop, which pinpoints sites on Google maps, has been popping up in a number of strange places worldwide.

For instance, the British tabloid Metro did a story last week about the red Google A, which looks like an upside down teardrop, showing up in a Berkshire roundabout. The paper quoted someone who questioned if it could be linked to a mysterious ghost child who supposedly haunts a nearby bridge.

Artist Aram Bartholl has a project in which he erected a giant red letter A in some cities on the spots that Google says are the centers of the cities.

Now, Wichita’s Builders Inc. has a red A in front of its apartments, Corner 365, under construction at the southeast corner of First and Waco.

No one has questioned if a ghost child is involved, but some have wondered if the A might denote what Google thinks is the center of Wichita. That’s not the case, though.

Builders Inc. president Mike Garvey says he was online one day when he saw a man in Germany standing in front of a building with what looked like the Google pin in front of it.

Garvey says he realized it was an imposter pin, but he says, “I was like, that’s a great idea.”

Hoping to bring attention to the apartments, Garvey had a sign company make him a similar pin.

“Some people have noticed it,” he says. “Maybe people drive by it and think it’s a Google pin.”

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You don’t say

keeper“Watch out, there’s a new renegade Riverfest button very soon … .”

– An e-mail from Wichita hair stylist Michael Robertson, who created a renegade Wichita River Festival button in 2012 and is doing another one to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Keeper of the Plains (e-mail if you want one)

Wichita River Festival consolidates, moves storage into one facility

WICHITA — Ever since Wichita Festivals gave up its longtime Wichita River Festival command center and storage facility to make way for AVI Seabar & Chophouse, it has used a couple of different places for storage.

“We have been guests of the Drury and their parking garage,” says Festivals president and CEO Mary Beth Jarvis.

Festivals also has been using the former Michaels building on East Kellogg. That building is slated to be razed next year, which is necessitating new storage space.

“We have been looking around for a new home for our odd collection of stuff,” Jarvis says.

That includes such things as signs, fencing and ticket booths.

Now, Jarvis says, “the wonderful folks at PEC” are donating part of the former Chilton Billiards space at 300 S. Topeka, which Professional Engineering Consultants owns, for Festivals to use.

“They are going to allow Wichita Festivals to park our stuff there,” Jarvis says.

PEC is still looking for someone to lease the 30,000-square-foot building. If a prospective tenant needs the entire space, “then we would have to gracefully yield,” Jarvis says. “Our goal will be to co-exist.”

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Renegade Wichita River Festival button features a llama instead of a rooster

UPDATED — For what may be only the second time in the history of the Wichita River Festival, there’s a renegade button to spoof the real one that gets people into the event.

In 2007, it was a bottoms-up duck on the imposter button. This time, hair stylist Michael Robertson created a button featuring a llama in protest of the festival’s real artwork, which features a rooster.

“When I saw the original with the rooster, I thought it was the worst artwork pick they ever had,” Robertson says.

“I just made this llama because it had nothing to do with Riverfest.”

He says he’s getting good feedback from people who have seen the button.

“They’ve been saying they’d rather have the llama than the rooster.”

Wichita Festivals president and CEO Janet Wright isn’t going that far, but she does like Robertson’s button.

“I thought it was kind of funny,” she says. “Somebody with … too much time on his hands, I guess.”

Wright says she knows not everyone understands the rooster connection. That could be because there doesn’t appear to be one.

“It is a competition,” Wright says of the artwork that was chosen. “You have to pick from what you have – not to say we weren’t pleased with the direction the artist went.”

Robertson describes himself as “a serious Riverfest collector and volunteer.”

“Seriously?” Wright says.

When he volunteers at the festival this year, Robertson says he may wear his buttons all over his shirt so he can easily hand them out. You can also get one by e-mailing

Wright says she has no problem with the button, though she says that “since it’s not an official button, it won’t work to get into events.”

You don’t say

“It’s so nice of the city to celebrate the opening of Bluebird with fireworks.”

— Consultant Jill Miller, joking about the Wichita River Festival’s fireworks coinciding with Bluebird Arthouse’s grand opening Saturday in Delano

You don’t say

“Walking those three to five extra minutes would probably be good for us before we eat a funnel cake.”

Wichita Festivals president and CEO Janet Wright, responding to complaints from downtown workers who are disappointed the Wichita River Festival food court has moved 850 feet from where it usually is

You don’t say

“Are they telling us that the river is poison?”

— Wichita resident Rex Rivers on how he’s noticed a Wichita River Festival billboard with a skull and crossbones on it (there’s a pirate theme for this year’s festival)

Wichita Festivals Inc. still negotiating for River Festival replacement

It seems Wichita Festivals Inc.’s negotiations with Cheap Trick are still ongoing. Check back tomorrow to see if that’s the act that will replace Wichita River Festival headliner Bret Michaels or if it’s time for Plan C.

Cheap Trick is likely replacement for Bret Michaels at Wichita River Festival

WICHITA — The likely replacement for Bret Michaels as the May 7 Wichita River Festival headliner is a band that wants you to want them.

Cheap Trick has until 5 p.m. today to accept an offer from Wichita Festivals Inc.

“There’s no confirmation of that,” says Festivals CEO Janet Wright. “We have identified several groups that could potentially be ones that might work.”

Wright does confirm that there is a 5 p.m. deadline today for an act to accept a contract.

Michaels is unable to perform after being hospitalized Thursday night following a brain hemorrhage.

A source says Cheap Trick will cost more than Michaels.

There’s also a Plan C in the works, but it sounds like Cheap Trick is likely to work out.

“Today” show names Wichita No. 1 most affordable city

WICHITA — Wichita got a great mention on Monday’s “Today” show on NBC, but not as great as it could have been.

In a real estate segment, the show named the top 5 most affordable cities in America.

There were lots of descriptions and pictures of Spokane, Wash., Durham, N.C., and Great Falls, Mont. — cities No. 5, 4 and 3.

The show ran out of time, though, so only fleetingly stated that Pocatello, Idaho, is No. 2 and Wichita is No. 1.

The criteria wasn’t solely money. The cities all have good jobs and schools and amenities that make for a good lifestyle, the show said.

So what would have been said about Wichita had there been time?

A “Today” spokesman says there were several bullet points about the city that could have been used:

– Its reputation as the Air Capital of the World, with a look at the aircraft industry past and present.

– Numerous art and history museums and theaters — the “cultural center for Kansas.”

– The “renown” Tallgrass Film Festival.

– Downtown Wichita, which is dotted with galleries and is home to the Wichita River Festival.

Of course, Wichita’s housing also would have gotten a mention.

The example? You can get a two-bedroom, one-bath house with bay windows and a screened porch for $119,000.